Astaroth Incarnate is a name some of you might be familiar with already. Those that dabble in the tech-death/symphonic/black metal realms might have heard the band’s prior EPs, and know that the Toronto, Ontario group has been out for blood since 2015.
Comparisons to the likes of Dimmu Borgir, Septicflesh or Behemoth aren’t unwelcome, no doubt. Astaroth Incarnate has plenty of aspects that remind one of these bands. However, Astaroth Incarnate stand out gloriously in their approach, playing at an incredible level of musicianship. And just when listeners thought they had cracked into the Astaroth Incarnate’s sound, the band throws us a brand-new angle.
“I Am Fire / I Am Death (Alpha)” is taken from the upcoming Ascendance EP, a three-song offering due out in December. Here, Astaroth Incarnate is less tech death and much more of a gothic, symphonic take on the band’s sound. The song begins easily enough with a gentle guitar melody and quickly folds into something theatrical. Something that’s very, very Cradle of Filth sounding. The band hasn’t dropped their melding of black and death metal. However, this much further down the black metal path.
What’s so stand out about this song is how gothic and haunting the keyboard gets. At one point the keys are howling, at another they sound gentle, even dainty. Which is a stark contrast with how absolutely vicious vocalist Astaroth can get. Another big stand out of the song—his vocals shriek, grunt and growl in the most commanding way. Like he has you by the throat.
The video is classic black metal in the best way. Astaroth Incarnate playing in the woods, and some dark stuff goes down. It’s kinda got a vibe akin to The VVitch so maybe it’s better left unspoiled. Just hit that play button and enjoy the engulfing flames.